The Ultimate Guide to Lyft Ridesharing
Ask any friend or family member how I get around in Chicago. They’ll say something like, “Cab or The El maybe?” Then, it will come to them. “Oh, Lenny? He uses Lyft.”
I’m crazy about Lyft. I’ve been getting rides via the Lyft app since they came to my city. No cabs, no train, no Uber. Just Lyft.
My fondness for Lyft goes beyond the service. I’ve been casually touting Lyft in life-themed blog posts for a while. I think they’re the model company for our generation.
Yesterday, Lyft sent me a link to give my readers. It gets new Lyft riders $25 in free money. Amazing! Perfect time to bring together all my previously published posts mentioning Lyft. So here it is. Your ultimate guide to Lyft.
This is a living, breathing resource, to be updated regularly.
As with any of my reviews, my goal is to uncover the good, bad & ugly. As such, I do not accept any payment for reviews like this.
I do, though, get referral fees for some of my links. What does that mean? I appreciate your support.
Ultimately, the goal of my writing is to make people and organizations better. So, if there’s something I don’t like, I won’t hesitate to make note. The goal with this blog is and has always been the truth. My thoughts are the truth. And stating facts is the truth, too. So if you disagree or see any errors or omissions, please leave a comment below or contact me directly.
The Lyft community: An Introduction
The Lyft community is incredible. Drivers are all very similar. They’re just looking for some extra cash on the side. Many Lyft drivers are creatives or entrepreneurs. Some have day-jobs.
But no matter what the Lyfter’s story is, it’s almost always a learning experience. Here are some of my favorite Lyfts so far.
Andrew. Father or two high school boys and owner of a real estate consulting firm.
Arlene: The gymnast who travels with the circus.
Pinchas: The chasidic Jew who is in his last year of biblical school. Don’t expect a ride on shabbas from him!
The common thread with Lyft drivers is that they’re:
- Fiercely loyal to the Lyft community.
- Cool conversationalists.
- Attentive listeners.
- Great people.
- Just plain fun.
And like any good community, word spreads fast. Want a new feature from the Lyft service? Just ask.
Lyft vs Taxi Cabs
Taxi rides turn me into a different person. So do Lyft rides. The former into a mean, angry monster. The latter into a better, happier me.
I love Lyft because it’s:
Cheaper than a cab
A Lyft is on average 25% less expensive than a cab. And the savings improve when you add passengers. Unlike cabs, there is no extra charge for additional riders.
Safer than a cab
Lyftees benefit from a two-way paper trail. All rides are processed through their app. So, here’s the paper trail:
- Electronic record of you asking for a ride. Date, time, and location are logged.
- Electronic record of the driver agreeing to give you a ride. Date, time, and location are logged.
Try and get that with a cab, single ladies!
Like riding with a friend
Lyft drivers are incredibly safe and trustworthy. They are all given background checks. They all have clean driving records. And they are identified through their facebook profile, which brings an added layer of “friendship.” Plus, their car is certified Lyft-ready!
Just like riding with friends, you ride in front. Ensuring you get:
- Less car sick.
- More leg room.
- Your own airbag!
While I’ve only had 4 or 5-star rides, you’re protected against a bad experience. If you rate your ride 3 stars or fewer, that driver can never pick you up again.
All Lyft rides are handled through the app. Your credit card is securely saved, just like Amazon.com.
When the ride is over, you get to leave immediately. No fumbling around with cash. No uncomfortable requests to a cabby to pay with credit card.
Before Lyft, cabs and bars were the only time I used cash. Now, it’s just bars. 🙂
Concerns about Lyft
Right now, there are two concerns with Lyft.
- They’re only in select cities. NYC has banned them because they were hurting the taxi business. The solution? Not sure. They’re growing quickly, so perhaps they’ll be in your city soon.
- Drivers aren’t full-time drivers. They’re safe, as vetted by a background check and several mock Lyfts. The drivers, however, don’t always know the best ways around. Yes, they all have GPS, which helps. But sometimes they still need to be told the best route. The solution: Call your driver immediately. Specify your exact location. Telling my drivers I live in the building above CVS and Subway has done wonders.
How Lyft works
Lyft is app-based. It sits on the 1st screen of my phone.
When you need a ride, just open the app. Press the “Request Lyft” button and your’e set. The name and picture of your driver appear next to an ETA. You can even monitor the progress on the map.
You’ll recognize your ride by the pink mustache. Give your driver a “fist-bump” and pick a destination. You can go up to 60 miles away in any direction.
At the end of the ride, you just leave. Actually, it’s customary to give another “fist-bump” at the end. Then, you’re done.
For 24 hours, after the ride, you’ll be able to rate the ride and pay.
Payments are called “donations.” It’s Lyft’s way around some legal stuff. You can increase or decrease your payment as you like. Just keep in mind you’re rated, too. So decreasing payment might get you a low rating. And that could make it tough to get drivers to pick you up.
During busy hours, Lyfts are a bit more expensive. The increase fares go directly to the drivers as an incentive to drive when it’s busy.
How to start using Lyft
Download the app. It’s available in the app store and google play. First-time Lyft riders can get $25 in free Lyft rides with this link.
CTA: Give Lyft a try. You may not use it every day, like me. But you might just fall in love with the Pink Mustache.